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Music Perception & Cognition - MUS00122C

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  • Department: Music
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Hauke Egermann
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2017-18
    • See module specification for other years: 2018-19

Module summary

This module will introduce students to the basic mechanisms of music perception and cognition. We will look at theories and studies that try to explain the principles of the processing of musical characteristics such as pitch, rhythm and metre, and timbre.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2017-18

Module aims

Music represents a complex and multi-dimensional stimulus that creates various responses in listeners through perceptual and cognitive processes. This module will introduce students to the basic mechanisms underlying these human capacities. We will start by engaging in the functionality of our perceptual systems in general. After that, we will look at the auditory system, including the perception of basic qualities such as loudness, pitch, and timbre. This will be followed by looking at research that identifies the functionality of the perception of musical parameters such as melody, timing (rhythm, metre, tempo), harmony, timbre and higher level structures like compositional form and expressiveness. We will then identify the mechanisms behind musical memory and its link with musical expectation.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the taught part of the project all students should:

  • have a knowledge and understanding of how the human mind processes musical parameters such as pitch, metre, rhythm, and timbre
  • be able to summarize different theoretical approaches in the field including their limitations
  • be able to evaluate the validity of empirical studies from the field of Music Perception and Cognition
  • be able to apply this knowledge in their own approaches to teaching, composing, and performing music.

On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate learning outcomes A1-7.


Task Length % of module mark
3500 Word Essay
N/A 80
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation & Written Account
N/A 20

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

The assessment consists of two parts:

a) Seminar presentation based on a published article and then a short write-up of that presentation (approx. 1000w, 20% of the mark)

b) An essay which can either expand those ideas, or develop a new topic (approx. 3500w, 80% of the mark).


Task Length % of module mark
3500 Word Essay
N/A 80
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation & Written Account
N/A 20

Module feedback

Report form with marks to student no later than 6 weeks from submission of assessment.

Indicative reading


The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

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